GEBF in Texas
“Here in Texas, we’ve used GEBF dollars to leverage additional private and nonprofit funds to restore and preserve thousands of acres of coastal habitats and wetlands, while at the same time working with communities and private landowners to voluntarily participate in conservation efforts. Not only have we been able to restore oyster, fish and bird habitats for both commercial and recreational enjoyment, we’ve bolstered resiliency efforts by enhancing the marshes, bays, dunes and barrier islands along the Gulf Coast to help protect our communities from the next storm.” — Texas Governor Greg Abbott
To date, the total number of awards from the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF) in the state of Texas now stands at 55, with a total current value of more than $183 million. These projects were selected for funding following extensive consultation with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Texas General Land Office, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The projects in Texas address high-priority conservation needs. They represent important efforts to protect and enhance natural and living resources along the vast Texas coast.
To learn more about the projects the GEBF has funded in Texas, view the comprehensive list of projects.
Powderhorn Ranch Acquisition
The GEBF awarded more than $34.5 million to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and their partners to acquire, restore and manage the 17,351-acre Powderhorn Ranch. This project, which has long been a top priority for the conservation community in Texas, permanently protects more than 11 miles of tidal bay front and thousands of acres of emergent wetlands and tidal marshes that support dozens of species of waterfowl, shorebirds and wading birds. Powderhorn's unique beauty will soon be open for public access, giving generations of Texans and Americans the ability to enjoy this iconic coastal landscape.
Rookery Island Restoration and Enhancement
Texas has more than 180 rookery islands that provide critical nesting habitat for vast populations of more than 26 species of colonial waterbirds and a variety of other coastal flora and fauna. Enhancing the quality of nesting habitat and reducing disturbances on these islands is crucial to helping these species survive and thrive. To date, the GEBF has awarded $4 million to conservation partners to restore or enhance nearly one-third of the rookery islands across the coast of Texas, including 60 that suffered devastating impacts from Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
Oyster Restoration in Galveston Bay
The GEBF awarded $2.5 million to The Nature Conservancy to restore a minimum of 40 acres of degraded oyster reefs in Texas' Galveston Bay using design criteria intended to increase the sustainability and resilience of the restored reef habitats. The project will create conditions optimal for oyster larval production, settlement, survival and enhanced adult oyster growth, and is one of seventeen projects to improve conditions in Galveston Bay.
NFWF is engaged in consultation with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas General Land Office, FWS and NOAA to identify priority conservation projects for consideration under the GEBF. Review of the 2019 cycle proposals is expected to begin in the spring of 2020.
About the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund in Texas
Under the allocation formula and other provisions contained in the plea agreements, the GEBF has received $203 million for project expenditures in the state of Texas.
To learn more about Texas' process for identifying priority Gulf Coast restoration projects visit: www.restorethetexascoast.org